So, does Concealment negate all Precision Damage?


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Liberty's Edge

83 people marked this as FAQ candidate. Answered in the FAQ. 4 people marked this as a favorite.

We all know that Sneak Attack is negated by concealment, we all know that complete blindness negates all ability to inflict precision damage. Those are both made very clear in the core rulebook.

However, what's a good deal less clear, is whether the loss of precision damage from any concealment applies to other sources of precision damage, such as the Precise Strike Feat, or the Duelist's Precise Strike ability (Yay for confusing names?). They lack any reference to concealment beyond the one general rule from the darkness section (which explicitly only refers to complete blindness)...and yet, because the wording is a bit unclear regarding how they don't work on things immune to Sneak Attack an argument can be made that they shouldn't work on anything with concealment. I think that argument's wrong, but the rules are legitimately unclear enough that it's a problem.

Now, this was a relatively niche problem, until recently. But two of the Classes in the upcoming ACG rely somewhat on Precision Damage which lacks clarity in this area (the Swashbuckler heavily, and the Investigator a bit via Studied Combat...interestingly, Studied Strike does appear to have the concealment language from Sneak Attack, unlike Studied Combat or the other examples I've used. See here for the text I'm working from there)...and that makes that unclear wording a pretty big problem all of a sudden.

In short, an answer to this question is a big honkin' deal for anyone interested in Swashbucklers, and it's useful for anyone interested in Investigators to know as well. Please FAQ this post so we can hopefully get an answer.

A discussion of which way it is, while inevitable, isn't really the point of this thread. I'd like an official response.


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Personally I never liked that concealement negates sneak attack. Luring someone into a dark alleyway to sneak attack them is a trope that becomes impossible.


Friend of the Dork wrote:
Personally I never liked that concealement negates sneak attack. Luring someone into a dark alleyway to sneak attack them is a trope that becomes impossible.

There is a feat or rogue talent that allows this, though I forget the name of it off the top of my head.

Aside form that, I think you actually bring up a very good point DMW. Based on this I think there should be some clarification, and I lean towards the notion that concealment negates all forms of precision damage. Unless you have an ability to ignore concealment.

Lantern Lodge

I don't think there is any general rule that precision damage is negated by concealment.

The concealment rules themselves don't prevent a Rogue from using sneak attack against a target with concealment. What prevents the Rogue from sneak attacking a target with concealment is the Sneak Attack rules which state that you cannot sneak attack a target with concealment.

Also note that some precision attacks, like the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike ability, do not work against targets that are immune to critical hits but say nothing about concealment, while others, like Sneak Attack, do not work against concealment but say nothing about not working against targets that are immune to critical hits.

Therefore, I conclude that there is no over-arching rule and you need to look at the text of the precision attack to find out what does or does not negate or prevent it.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Captain Zoom wrote:
like the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike ability, do not work against targets that are immune to critical hits but say nothing about concealment

Not necessarily, the current text reads that "Any creature immune to sneak attacks is immune to precise strike" so in this case concealment would probably prevent it. However, the other point is definitely correct and who knows what the final text will say.

On the main point there is a feat "Shadow Strike" which allows you to use sneak attack against targets with less than total concealment.


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still feel like Paizo dropped the ball when it revised 3.5 and failed to codify "precision damage" as a set type of damage, like a keyword. Rather than having to constantly spell out the text with things like this, we could have a "x is precision damage" comment and everything would be much more consistant and clear.

Lantern Lodge

Helvellyn wrote:
Captain Zoom wrote:
like the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike ability, do not work against targets that are immune to critical hits but say nothing about concealment

Not necessarily, the current text reads that "Any creature immune to sneak attacks is immune to precise strike" so in this case concealment would probably prevent it. However, the other point is definitely correct and who knows what the final text will say.

On the main point there is a feat "Shadow Strike" which allows you to use sneak attack against targets with less than total concealment.

You are correct in that I made a mistake with the specific example, BUT, the point is still valid. There are multiple examples of precision damage abilities that do not say that they are ineffective against targets with concealment (or by derivation, say that any creature immune to sneak attack is immune to the ability).

I challenge you to find ANYTHING in the rules for concealment that say anything about concealment negating precision damage (I haven't checked the FAQ, so you could start there).

Certain precision damage abilities state that the particular ability does not work versus concealment, others don't. There is no general rule, so the text of the ability governs.

And this is the main point or issue raised by the OP, NOT how to get around concealment when making a sneak attack (which is off-topic as we are not talking about sneak attack, but precision damage - the two are NOT the same).

Liberty's Edge

Bumped for people hopefully actually FAQing this so we can get an answer...


Dotting for self interest; since quite a few characters of mine do use that damage actually..
and in general i'm never sure on what type it is. I've always just tacked it on as whatever damage type is being dealt by the weapon etc. and never used it in the dark etc.


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No. But concealment negates many specific sources of precision damage.

Edit: Not working against targets who are immune to sneak attack is different. A creature with concealment isn't consequently immune to sneak attack; rather, sneak attack usually cannot work on such a creature. That's a function of the attacker's ability, not the creature. Note that there are ways to deal sneak attack damage to creatures with concealment, notably Shadow Strike. This indicates that the creature was never really immune, merely more difficult to target.

Liberty's Edge

@blahpers:

For the record, I agree with you entirely. I've just run into enough people who thought it worked the other way that official clarification seems necessary.


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That Shadow Strike the feat exists tends to demonstrate the general rule that one cannot apply precision damage to a foe with concealment.

Aside from that, the very name of the type of damage (precision) tends to counsel against its application in a situation where you are prohibited from striking accurately.

Liberty's Edge

fretgod99 wrote:
That Shadow Strike the feat exists tends to demonstrate the general rule that one cannot apply precision damage to a foe with concealment.

Not necessarily. It calls out Sneak Attack specifically, and there are other sources of precision damage with the same caveat (Studied Strike, for example), so it not just being for sneak attack is useful and valid even if there's precision damage it doesn't apply to.

fretgod99 wrote:
Aside from that, the very name of the type of damage (precision) tends to counsel against its application in a situation where you are prohibited from striking accurately.

That's a really shaky basis for a rules call. And I'm not sure it's even that logical. 20% concealment can just be you being blurry around the edges, that doesn't necessarily invalidate, say, a duelists's well-trained precision.

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Though once again, this thread is really a call for an official ruling to stop arguments like this one, FAQ, FAQ, FAQ people. :)


Helvellyn wrote:
Captain Zoom wrote:
like the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike ability, do not work against targets that are immune to critical hits but say nothing about concealment
Not necessarily, the current text reads that "Any creature immune to sneak attacks is immune to precise strike" so in this case concealment would probably prevent it.

No. Concealment doesn't make a creature immune to sneak attacks, it creates a circumstance under which you can't sneak attack. Not the same thing.

Liberty's Edge

seebs wrote:
Helvellyn wrote:
Captain Zoom wrote:
like the Swashbuckler's Precise Strike ability, do not work against targets that are immune to critical hits but say nothing about concealment
Not necessarily, the current text reads that "Any creature immune to sneak attacks is immune to precise strike" so in this case concealment would probably prevent it.
No. Concealment doesn't make a creature immune to sneak attacks, it creates a circumstance under which you can't sneak attack. Not the same thing.

This is, once more for the record, pretty much exactly my opinion on the issue.

But it's unclear enough that we're arguing it and neither side can bring definitive proof...that seems to me to necessitate an official response. So please FAQ the first post and maybe we'll get one. :)

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

While a good question, I think that your post isn't a good one for a FAQ:
- it don't include the question (it is in the title, not in the post, but it is the post that is flagged for the FAQ;
- it is more a request for an errata or update of the books than a FAQ.

Probably an errata or update is the only solution to your question as the rule don't give an answer and a lot of people will fight tooth and nail against a FAQ that say something that they don't like, saying that there is no basis for it in the rules (regardless of what is in the FAQ, both fields have very opinionated supported).

Personally, I have my opinion, but it is only that, an opinion.

Liberty's Edge

Diego Rossi wrote:

While a good question, I think that your post isn't a good one for a FAQ:

- it don't include the question (it is in the title, not in the post, but it is the post that is flagged for the FAQ;

I dunno, it's a little wordy, but I think my second paragraph states the problem well enough.

I could make a shorter post and people could FAQ that, I guess, but that seems highly unnecessary.

Diego Rossi wrote:

- it is more a request for an errata or update of the books than a FAQ.

Probably an errata or update is the only solution to your question as the rule don't give an answer and a lot of people will fight tooth and nail against a FAQ that say something that they don't like, saying that there is no basis for it in the rules (regardless of what is in the FAQ, both fields have very opinionated supported).

I'm pretty sure the entire previous history of Paizo's FAQs argues that this is well within their scope. People may well b*$@&, but that certainly hasn't stopped Paizo before, and I doubt it will now if they choose to clarify this.

Diego Rossi wrote:
Personally, I have my opinion, but it is only that, an opinion.

Yeah, me too. That's the problem in a nutshell.


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Deadmanwalking wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
That Shadow Strike the feat exists tends to demonstrate the general rule that one cannot apply precision damage to a foe with concealment.
Not necessarily. It calls out Sneak Attack specifically, and there are other sources of precision damage with the same caveat (Studied Strike, for example), so it not just being for sneak attack is useful and valid even if there's precision damage it doesn't apply to.

Not correct. It explicitly calls out "precision damage", then uses sneak attack as an example.

You accurately strike even those you cannot clearly see.

Prerequisite: Base attack bonus +1.
Benefit: You can deal precision damage, such as sneak attack damage, against targets with concealment (but not total concealment).

It does not say that you may deal "sneak attack" damage against foes with concealment; it says you may deal "precision damage" against foes with concealment. "Such as sneak attack damage" is an example of the use of the feat, not a limit thereof. It applies to all precision damage.

Studied Strike is precision damage so it cannot be used against a foe in concealment. It could, however, if the Investigator had the Shadow Strike feat.

If you could deal precision damage to foes with concealment, the Shadow Strike feat would have no purpose for existing. A FAQ is unnecessary. Concealment negates precision damage.


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There exists more than one source of precision damage that can be negated by concealment, as specified in their individual descriptions. This justifies the wording of Shadow Strike - it will apply to each such source. This does not mean that all precision damage is negated by concealment.


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They really need to go back and codify precision damage. Until it is a game term or they have a list these questions can not really have an answer.


Zathyr wrote:
There exists more than one source of precision damage that can be negated by concealment, as specified in their individual descriptions. This justifies the wording of Shadow Strike - it will apply to each such source. This does not mean that all precision damage is negated by concealment.

Which precision damages are not negated by concealment and which ones are? Does an entry of precision damage have to say it is negated by concealment or does it have to say it is not negated by concealment?

Shadow Strike is a pretty solid example of the exception proving the rule. If precision damage itself wasn't negated by damage, just specific kinds of it, then Shadow Strike doesn't really do a whole lot and is terribly worded. Or, one of the benefits of concealment is that you are (while concealed) effectively immune to precision damage, an immunity which Shadow Strike then allows the attacker to overcome.

As SKR has said, things should either be and work the same or they should be different (and noticeably different). If something is called "precision damage", it should function like other things that are also called "precision damage". Otherwise, there is no point to having a larger category of things called "precision damage". Since we do have a category of things called "precision damage", we have to assume that means something and that the things falling under that heading ought to behave the same way in similar circumstances. Since a feat like Shadow Strike exists to explicitly counteract concealment negating precision damage (note: not some kinds of precision damage, all precision damage), one must assume that concealment then does in fact negate all precision damage, unless an entry of precision damage specifically excepts it from that negation.


wraithstrike wrote:
They really need to go back and codify precision damage. Until it is a game term or they have a list these questions can not really have an answer.

Well, they should have provided an explicit definition, I agree. But it is clearly intended to be a game term with a fairly specific definition (it just suffers from not having an explicit definition).

That Shadow Strike exists gives a pretty clear indication of what this answer should be, though.

Sczarni

Shadow strike + BF, IBF and Greater Blind Fighting means a 20% chance to miss anyone, but you still do precision damage.

As for other precision damage - I would agree with those who say that if a trained killer (rogue) can't do it, then a casual player with a off feat shouldn't be able to (without the same Shadow Strike required Feat). RAW though, unless it states otherwise in the feat description, there is nothing in concealment that negates precision damage.

Liberty's Edge

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fretgod99 wrote:
That Shadow Strike exists gives a pretty clear indication of what this answer should be, though.

I'd actually argue that the Studied Combat and Studied Strike writeups I linked are pretty good evidence to the contrary. They're extremely closely linked abilities, written by the same writer, and yet one has an explicit restriction against working on targets with concealment while the other doesn't.

That makes basically no sense unless some precision damage is negated by concealment (and noted as such), and some isn't. Shadow Strike meanwhile, while unclear, still makes sense with this idea since it would apply to any precision damage that is negated by concealment.


fretgod99 wrote:
Which precision damages are not negated by concealment and which ones are? Does an entry of precision damage have to say it is negated by concealment or does it have to say it is not negated by concealment?

That is basically the question, yes. Is precision damage a category that behaves similarly with regards to concealment or not? There are some hints that maybe it should, but nothing that flat out says so.

Either way, I don't think Shadow Strike is poorly worded. It's a situational feat, but if your build largely depends on precision damage that would be negated by concealment (such as sneak attack), and you're worried about it, then it might be worth taking.

Quote:
Since a feat like Shadow Strike exists to explicitly counteract concealment negating precision damage (note: not some kinds of precision damage, all precision damage), one must assume that concealment then does in fact negate all precision damage, unless an entry of precision damage specifically excepts it from that negation.

And my point was that you don't actually need to make that assumption. The rules as they exist, strictly spelled out and without assumptions, still work fine. But it's hard to say what the intent is. In a product like Pathfinder with multiple developers, some might be working under one assumption and others might not be. Or maybe everyone is on the same page and we just need to find out which page that is..

Liberty's Edge

I'm in pretty much complete agreement with Zathyr.

FAQ for an answer, folks!

Liberty's Edge

Bump.

Again, FAQ for an answer, folks. :)


Deadmanwalking wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
That Shadow Strike exists gives a pretty clear indication of what this answer should be, though.

I'd actually argue that the Studied Combat and Studied Strike writeups I linked are pretty good evidence to the contrary. They're extremely closely linked abilities, written by the same writer, and yet one has an explicit restriction against working on targets with concealment while the other doesn't.

That makes basically no sense unless some precision damage is negated by concealment (and noted as such), and some isn't. Shadow Strike meanwhile, while unclear, still makes sense with this idea since it would apply to any precision damage that is negated by concealment.

How this undercuts my argument, I'm not sure. Studied Strike is virtually just a reskin of Sneak Attack, so unsurprisingly it behaves identically. Studied Combat cannot contain a general prohibition on use against concealed targets because doing so would mean that the attack bonus would not function as well. So, they call out the damage as being "Precision Damage". If, as I've said, that "precision damage" tag means anything, then it carries with it all the weight that precision damage ordinarily does, meaning just the damage bonus from Studied Combat does not apply against a foe with concealment. It actually matches up just fine. Insight bonus to attack rolls (not negated by concealment), precision damage bonus to damage rolls (negated by concealment, just like every other form of precision damage including Studied Strike). If Studied Combat did not work against foes with concealment, you wouldn't get the insight bonus to attack rolls either. My guess is the explicit mention occurs in Studied Strike because they just copy pasta'd Sneak Attack to make the entries uniform.

Precise Strike the feat calls the damage "precision damage", so any restrictions to precision damage would apply. "Precise Strike" for Duelists isn't actually precision damage, despite the name, because it's not called out as precision damage. Restrictions for precision damage (like not being multiplied on critical hits and being negated by concealment) do not apply to a Duelist's Precise Strike class feature. The only thing confusing about that is the name.


Zathyr wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
Which precision damages are not negated by concealment and which ones are? Does an entry of precision damage have to say it is negated by concealment or does it have to say it is not negated by concealment?

That is basically the question, yes. Is precision damage a category that behaves similarly with regards to concealment or not? There are some hints that maybe it should, but nothing that flat out says so.

Either way, I don't think Shadow Strike is poorly worded. It's a situational feat, but if your build largely depends on precision damage that would be negated by concealment (such as sneak attack), and you're worried about it, then it might be worth taking.

So are you saying there are hints, anywhere, that precision damage is a category the component parts of which should not behave similarly? Seriously, that would be absolutely terribly rules drafting.

You have a feat that exists that changes how the entire category of damage is treated. Your position is that a feat which changes how an entire category of damage is treated doesn't tell us anything definitive about how that category of damage is treated sans that feat. That doesn't make any sense.

Quote:
Quote:
Since a feat like Shadow Strike exists to explicitly counteract concealment negating precision damage (note: not some kinds of precision damage, all precision damage), one must assume that concealment then does in fact negate all precision damage, unless an entry of precision damage specifically excepts it from that negation.
And my point was that you don't actually need to make that assumption. The rules as they exist, strictly spelled out and without assumptions, still work fine. But it's hard to say what the intent is. In a product like Pathfinder with multiple developers, some might be working under one assumption and others might not be. Or maybe everyone is on the same page and we just need to find out which page that is..

That's like saying we don't know whether the intent was to limit free actions to one's own turn or not because there's no rule explicitly stating so. We know what the intent is because there's a specific entry that tells us that one particular free action can be performed outside of one's turn - talking. That talking can be performed outside of one's turn and that this is explicitly clarified in the rules demonstrates that one ordinarily may not perform free actions outside of one's turn. Exception that proves the rule. This is another example of it.

If concealment wasn't supposed to cancel out precision damage, there would not be a need for an ability that allows you to deal precision damage against foes with concealment. Shadow Strike wouldn't say "You can deal precision damage against foes with concealment". It would say "You can deal sneak attack damage against foes with concealment" or "You can deal precision damage that is ordinarily negated by concealment against foes with concealment".

Drafting the Shadow Strike feat as it is drafting causes confusion if there isn't already a prohibition on dealing precision damage against foes with concealment. It isn't hard to see what the intent is at all. If concealment doesn't general counter precision damage, then Shadow Strike is a very poorly written feat because it causes much confusion.

The better question isn't whether there is any indication that concealment negates precision damage (because there is very clear indication of that). The better question is whether there is any indication that concealment does not generally negate precision damage. Specifically, is there any indication that creates even as strong of an argument against that general principle as the existence of the Shadow Strike feat is for it. I've seen nothing even remotely persuasive presented. Everything discussed falls nicely into the "precision damage is negated by concealment" category, which is a general rule that doesn't cause confusion.


FAQ#20


It could just all be coincidence. Until the rule is made, then the rule does exist for something with no official category. Now I do hope once this is resolved that all of them do work the same way.


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wraithstrike wrote:
It could just all be coincidence. Until the rule is made, then the rule does exist for something with no official category. Now I do hope once this is resolved that all of them do work the same way.

To be honest, a better FAQ would be something along the lines of "What does it mean when something is called 'precision damage'". Because ultimately what people need to know is what "precision damage" is. Asking how it interacts with concealment is really only part of the issue.

My guess is it's:
Bonus damage or damage dice from weapon (or weapon-like) attacks that occurs when you can specifically target vital areas of an opponent
Is not multiplied on critical hits
Not applicable to creatures immune to critical hits
Not applicable to creatures with no discernible anatomy
Not applicable to creatures with concealment against you
Cannot be applied to AoE attacks

Anything I'm missing?

Liberty's Edge

fretgod99 wrote:
How this undercuts my argument, I'm not sure.

Okay, I'll clarify.

fretgod99 wrote:
Studied Strike is virtually just a reskin of Sneak Attack, so unsurprisingly it behaves identically.

Agreed.

fretgod99 wrote:
Studied Combat cannot contain a general prohibition on use against concealed targets because doing so would mean that the attack bonus would not function as well.

They could easily write:

"The investigator must be able to see the target well enough to pick out a vital spot and must be able to reach such a spot in order for this damage to apply. An investigator does not receive the damage bonus of studied combat against a creature with concealment."I did that as a re-write of the similar paragraph in the studied strike section in about 10 seconds.

The fact that they have an entire paragraph saying this in Studied Strike and nothing in studied combat is sorta telling, when you get right down to it. That sorta thing is standardized. If precision damage always means that, there's no need for that paragraph on studied strike and wordcount is both precious and actually costs real money to include...meaning it wouldn't be there.

fretgod99 wrote:
So, they call out the damage as being "Precision Damage". If, as I've said, that "precision damage" tag means anything, then it carries with it all the weight that precision damage ordinarily does, meaning just the damage bonus from Studied Combat does not apply against a foe with concealment.

All this assumes you're right. there's not actually an evidence that precision damage means this except an ambiguous line of text from a single Feat.

fretgod99 wrote:
It actually matches up just fine.

No, it doesn't. Again, the entire (short) paragraph stating that studied strike doesn't work on concealed things is unnecessary if that's the general rule on precision damage. Now, it might be one of those things where you need to restate it every time, I guess...but in that case it'd be mentioned in Studied Combat. Now, if studied combat weren't right next to studied strike, you could argue they just forgot to add it...but that's a hard thing to argue with them right next to each other.

fretgod99 wrote:
Insight bonus to attack rolls (not negated by concealment), precision damage bonus to damage rolls (negated by concealment, just like every other form of precision damage including Studied Strike). If Studied Combat did not work against foes with concealment, you wouldn't get the insight bonus to attack rolls either.

Again, it's easy to write a couple of sentences that do one but not the other.

My guess is the explicit mention occurs in Studied Strike because they just copy pasta'd Sneak Attack to make the entries uniform.

That's true...but why would they need to do that at all if that weren't a specific feature of sneak attack as opposed to precision damage in general?

fretgod99 wrote:
Precise Strike the feat calls the damage "precision damage", so any restrictions to precision damage would apply.

Except there are no such restrictions explicitly listed anywhere except one extremely debatable non-corebook Feat.

"Precise Strike" for Duelists isn't actually precision damage, despite the name, because it's not called out as precision damage. Restrictions for precision damage (like not being multiplied on critical hits and being negated by concealment) do not apply to a Duelist's Precise Strike class feature. The only thing confusing about that is the name.

Huh. You're right on Duelist. That's a bit odd.

Though, I'll note that only not multiplying on a critical hit is listed as a feature of the damage being precision damage is not multiplying on critical hits, and that (unlike the concealment thing) that feature is explicitly mentioned on all precision damage...which seems yet another indicator that if the concealment thing were universally true, it too would be universally mentioned.


I'm guessing they should probably errata the Duelist's Precise Strike to be precision damage. They copy pasta'd that (pretty much) from the Duelist for the Swashbuckler, but added the precision damage bit for the Swashbuckler (just like they seem to have copy pasta'd Sneak Attack for Studied Strike). If I had to guess, it might be because they realized the oversight for the Duelist and just wanted to remove any confusion for the Swashbuckler. So far as I'm aware it hasn't been errata'd yet for the Duelist (but I didn't really look very hard).

And my point is that if they're operating under the understanding that precision damage is generally negated by concealment, then all they'd have to mention in the Studied Combat section is that the damage bonus is precision damage and that handles it. That they copied the entry from Sneak Attack to make it uniform (because it really is just sneak attack that isn't automatically applied), it's unsurprising that the explicitness of one entry is not in the other.

But let's not pretend like Shadow Strike is "extremely debatable". If you still don't find it persuasive, that's fine. But it's not "extremely debatable". It's quite straight forward in what it does. It's quite straight forward in what it applies. You just happen to disagree with the weight of its implications.

EDIT: Also, I would note that the entry on Studied Strike was changed from the play test. So likely they're working under space constraints. The damage bonus did not previously exist. So adding the damage bonus and calling it precision damage takes a lot less space than adding the damage bonus and calling it precision damage and noting all the restrictions that come along with precision damage (which is particularly unnecessary since they all appear in the next entry, anyway). And again, I know this presumes my position. But my position is that the "precision damage" tag is actually intended to mean something. If it means something, then it is likely uniform in meaning. If it's not uniform in meaning, it's meaningless, which in turn means that clarifying how it interacts with another game rule is equally meaningless.


fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
It could just all be coincidence. Until the rule is made, then the rule does exist for something with no official category. Now I do hope once this is resolved that all of them do work the same way.

To be honest, a better FAQ would be something along the lines of "What does it mean when something is called 'precision damage'". Because ultimately what people need to know is what "precision damage" is. Asking how it interacts with concealment is really only part of the issue.

My guess is it's:
Bonus damage or damage dice from weapon (or weapon-like) attacks that occurs when you can specifically target vital areas of an opponent
Is not multiplied on critical hits
Not applicable to creatures immune to critical hits
Not applicable to creatures with no discernible anatomy
Not applicable to creatures with concealment against you
Cannot be applied to AoE attacks

Anything I'm missing?

I think that so far each version of precision damage has been up to the author. Many reference sneak attack, but not all, and I don't think it has ever been because of any consensus. It has just been that sneak attack is the most popular way to do it. I would say those would be good general rules in your list, but I would for the last one I would add an exception for things such as the arcane archer since it can use sneak attack with some spells.

Liberty's Edge

fretgod99 wrote:
I'm guessing they should probably errata the Duelist's Precise Strike to be precision damage. They copy pasta'd that (pretty much) from the Duelist for the Swashbuckler, but added the precision damage bit for the Swashbuckler (just like they seem to have copy pasta'd Sneak Attack for Studied Strike). If I had to guess, it might be because they realized the oversight for the Duelist and just wanted to remove any confusion for the Swashbuckler. So far as I'm aware it hasn't been errata'd yet for the Duelist (but I didn't really look very hard).

Yeah, that'd probably be a solid idea.

fretgod99 wrote:
And my point is that if they're operating under the understanding that precision damage is generally negated by concealment, then all they'd have to mention in the Studied Combat section is that the damage bonus is precision damage and that handles it. That they copied the entry from Sneak Attack to make it uniform (because it really is just sneak attack that isn't automatically applied), it's unsurprising that the explicitness of one entry is not in the other.

I disagree.

fretgod99 wrote:
But let's not pretend like Shadow Strike is "extremely debatable". If you still don't find it persuasive, that's fine. But it's not "extremely debatable". It's quite straight forward in what it does. It's quite straight forward in what it applies. You just happen to disagree with the weight of its implications.

No. I have an entirely different interpretation of what it means (ie: that it means it applies to any precision damage negated by concealment, not that all precision damage falls under that category)...and appear to be part of a majority that feel that way, at least in this thread, which means its meaning is pretty debatable. Hence us having a debate.

fretgod99 wrote:
EDIT: Also, I would note that the entry on Studied Strike was changed from the play test. So likely they're working under space constraints. The damage bonus did not previously exist. So adding the damage bonus and calling it precision damage takes a lot less space than adding the damage bonus and calling it precision damage and noting all the restrictions that come along with precision damage (which is particularly unnecessary since they all appear in the next entry, anyway).

That's possible, but not notably more likely than other possibilities. Especially since they did find room to mention it not multiplying on crits.

fretgod99 wrote:
And again, I know this presumes my position. But my position is that the "precision damage" tag is actually intended to mean something. If it means something, then it is likely uniform in meaning. If it's not uniform in meaning, it's meaningless, which in turn means that clarifying how it interacts with another game rule is equally meaningless.

It meaning something could just be that it doesn't multiply on crits. That's explicitly a universal feature of precision damage, and enough to make a new damage category since it's almost unique as non-elemental damage in that regard. That'd honestly be my bet.

And even if it doesn't inherently mean anything, knowing that would still be immensely useful to anyone who uses precision damage without the concealment note, since they'd be able to use it on concealed targets.


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fretgod99 wrote:
So are you saying there are hints, anywhere, that precision damage is a category the component parts of which should not behave similarly? Seriously, that would be absolutely terribly rules drafting.

It can behave similarly in some ways and not in others. The whole rule set is chock full of instances of specific text overriding the general. In this case, the general rule could be that precision damage can in fact affect those with concealment, but there are a variety of specific sources of precision damage which (as exceptions) do not. Not much different from nearly everything else in Pathfinder.

Quote:

You have a feat that exists that changes how the entire category of damage is treated. Your position is that a feat which changes how an entire category of damage is treated doesn't tell us anything definitive about how that category of damage is treated sans that feat. That doesn't make any sense.

No offense but you are, quite simply, reading more into it than is written.

"You can deal precision damage, such as sneak attack damage, against targets with concealment (but not total concealment)."

If there's some precision damage that is negated by concealment and some that isn't, would the feat text need to be changed at all? No. It still makes perfect sense as-is. I mean, sure you can make assumptions based on what it says, but they're exactly that - assumptions, reasonable or not. If I were a player and you were my GM I wouldn't argue it with you, but in rules discussions like these being as pedantic as possible is the standard. ;)


I'm good with being pedantic, it's sort of my profession.

The feat says (removing statements unnecessary for understanding the ultimate purpose): "You can deal precision damage against targets with concealment (but not total concealment)."

If there are forms of precision damage that are not negated by concealment, this construction of the feat does not make much sense because it very strongly implies that you cannot typically deal precision damage against targets with concealment.

"Such as sneak attack damage" is an unnecessary part of the operative language of the feat. I think people see "such as sneak attack damage" and assume that colors how the feat should be interpreted. It doesn't. "Such as sneak attack damage" simply provides an example of precision damage.

It's not really an assumption that I'm making here. It's a logical inference supported by an explicit exception that only makes sense if there is an implicit underlying rule.

If Shadow Strike only applies to precision damage explicitly negated by concealment, at the time of printing that's pretty much Sneak Attack. So why didn't they just say Sneak Attack?

So ultimately, if you want a FAQ, don't ask whether concealment negates precision damage, ask what the hell Precision Damage is in the first place.


wraithstrike wrote:
fretgod99 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
It could just all be coincidence. Until the rule is made, then the rule does exist for something with no official category. Now I do hope once this is resolved that all of them do work the same way.

To be honest, a better FAQ would be something along the lines of "What does it mean when something is called 'precision damage'". Because ultimately what people need to know is what "precision damage" is. Asking how it interacts with concealment is really only part of the issue.

My guess is it's:
Bonus damage or damage dice from weapon (or weapon-like) attacks that occurs when you can specifically target vital areas of an opponent
Is not multiplied on critical hits
Not applicable to creatures immune to critical hits
Not applicable to creatures with no discernible anatomy
Not applicable to creatures with concealment against you
Cannot be applied to AoE attacks

Anything I'm missing?

I think that so far each version of precision damage has been up to the author. Many reference sneak attack, but not all, and I don't think it has ever been because of any consensus. It has just been that sneak attack is the most popular way to do it. I would say those would be good general rules in your list, but I would for the last one I would add an exception for things such as the arcane archer since it can use sneak attack with some spells.

Arcane Trickster? You could probably drop a note for clarity, but I think it'd still be covered by the Surprise Spells entry (which already is an exception, anyway).

Either way, at least that'd be a clear indication of what precisely (see what I did there?) Precision Damage is.

Sczarni

Seems from the ooze, elemental and incorporeal subtypes that "precision-based" is a class of damage (since it says "such as" in the description).

"Not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take
additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as
sneak attack."

So that right there would indirectly make it a class of damage that makes it behave all the same (at least against oozes, elementals and incorporeal entities).

Liberty's Edge

fretgod99 wrote:

I'm good with being pedantic, it's sort of my profession.

The feat says (removing statements unnecessary for understanding the ultimate purpose):

Editing things like this is very easy to do to make them say what you want them to say. Just for the record.

fretgod99 wrote:

"You can deal precision damage against targets with concealment (but not total concealment)."

If there are forms of precision damage that are not negated by concealment, this construction of the feat does not make much sense because it very strongly implies that you cannot typically deal precision damage against targets with concealment.

I agree that it implies that to some degree...but it doesn't state it, it's one Feat, and there's no other evidence for this position.

fretgod99 wrote:
"Such as sneak attack damage" is an unnecessary part of the operative language of the feat. I think people see "such as sneak attack damage" and assume that colors how the feat should be interpreted. It doesn't. "Such as sneak attack damage" simply provides an example of precision damage.

I disagree, at least mostly.

fretgod99 wrote:
It's not really an assumption that I'm making here. It's a logical inference supported by an explicit exception that only makes sense if there is an implicit underlying rule.

That's one way of looking at it, but doesn't necessarily follow. It can, but doesn't need to.

fretgod99 wrote:
If Shadow Strike only applies to precision damage explicitly negated by concealment, at the time of printing that's pretty much Sneak Attack. So why didn't they just say Sneak Attack?

That actually makes a good argument the other way, with it being easy for the writer to assume that all precision damage works like sneak attack without that necessarily being true under those circumstances.

fretgod99 wrote:
So ultimately, if you want a FAQ, don't ask whether concealment negates precision damage, ask what the hell Precision Damage is in the first place.

Feel free to do so.

Liberty's Edge

maouse wrote:

Seems from the ooze, elemental and incorporeal subtypes that "precision-based" is a class of damage (since it says "such as" in the description).

"Not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take
additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as
sneak attack."

So that right there would indirectly make it a class of damage that makes it behave all the same (at least against oozes, elementals and incorporeal entities).

Right. But that doesn't say anything about concealment. That's listed in a whole different section of the ability than the fact that it's precision damage.

Sczarni

Deadmanwalking wrote:
maouse wrote:

Seems from the ooze, elemental and incorporeal subtypes that "precision-based" is a class of damage (since it says "such as" in the description).

"Not subject to critical hits or flanking. Does not take
additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as
sneak attack."

So that right there would indirectly make it a class of damage that makes it behave all the same (at least against oozes, elementals and incorporeal entities).

Right. But that doesn't say anything about concealment. That's listed in a whole different section of the ability than the fact that it's precision damage.

Right, it doesn't say anything about concealment blocking any kind of damage at all (just 20 or 50% missing). But if "precision-based" damage IS a class, then it all behaves the same. So if there is an example (rogue's sneak attack) where it is blocked (normally, without shadow strike) completely, it follows that this "class" of damage is blocked completely from any other "source" or "class feature" or "feat"/ right?

Or to put it another way; if the classification of Ooze, Elemental, and Incorporeal make "precision-based" attacks all behave the same from any source (even the feats that don't mention concealment stopping them) then it follows that "precision-based" attacks all get blocked by the same stuff (ooze, elemental, incorporeal AND concealment). Even if it is not RAW, it makes it pretty clear what the RAI is.

It also follows "logically" in that concealment implies a state where you can't see a person clearly enough to hit them (20 or 50% of the time), much less hit a particular part of them. You can't hit them 20 or 50% of the time but if you do, you can 100% of the time (using 2 feats, one stating that that is what the feat does, the other simply omitting something) hit them exactly where you want (but using every other thing in the book can do it 0% of the time?). Seems like that one omission is the error, not the rule/exception (shadow strike logically is the exception, not an omission in another feat)


No way to know. Click and wait.

Liberty's Edge

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maouse wrote:
Right, it doesn't say anything about concealment blocking any kind of damage at all (just 20 or 50% missing). But if "precision-based" damage IS a class, then it all behaves the same. So if there is an example (rogue's sneak attack) where it is blocked (normally, without shadow strike) completely, it follows that this "class" of damage is blocked completely from any other "source" or "class feature" or "feat"/ right?

Not necessarily. Many abilities have weird conditionals without those conditionals necessarily applying to all damage of that type.

Look at it this way, you could easily add a restriction against concealment to a non-precision damage bonus, and do so with exactly the same wording...that sorta indicates the two could be separate.


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There's a lot of begging the question going on here. The arguments seem to revolve around the idea that anything in a class behaves identically. Except that's not what is meant by "similar things behave similarly"; that's taking the philosophy to an extreme. Things within a class can still have specific qualities not shared by other things in that class; otherwise, they aren't really different things at all, and you might as well collapse the class into one thing. Whether that's a good idea is another discussion, but sneak attack has qualities that differentiate it from other precision damage, and one of those qualities is that it is negated by, among other things, concealment.

Shadow Strike is not the appropriate place to infer such a far-reaching rule consequence, in any event. It's a single frat that isn't even in the Core Rulebook. The supposed inference is debatable and too weak to draw any general conclusions from it.

Edit: Deadmanwalking said it much more succinctly.

Sczarni

blahpers wrote:
Shadow Strike is not the appropriate place to infer such a far-reaching rule consequence, in any event. It's a single frat that isn't even in the Core Rulebook. The supposed inference is debatable and too weak to draw any general conclusions from it.

I think we all agree that RAW says nothing about concealment blocking precision damage at all. It is the following combination of factors which indicate it should all be treated the same:

#1 - MOST abilities that deal precision based damage state it is blocked by concealment (all but 2 feats). This implies that most precision damage is blocked by concealment.
#2 - Specifically Shadow Strike states it is "the feat" which allows someone to attack with precision into concealment. This implies that normally one can't do this.
#3 - Oozes, Elementals, and Incorporeal creatures ALL treat precision damage the same (as a class). They ALL also block ALL FORMS of precision damage (whether the feat says so or not). This implies precision damage is a class, not an "individual" description of damage determined by each individual feat.

The conclusion is that precision damage is a class of damage which should be treated the same (as it is by Oozes, etc...) regardless of source (feat/ability/magic). If concealment blocks it from MOST, unless the ONE EXCEPTION (Shadow Strike) is used, then even the one other feat that simply didn't mention it should be blocked. The other conclusion is that there are TWO exceptions to the rule - one of which specifically states it is the exclusion (shadow strike) and one which simply doesn't mention it at all (as opposed to stating it allows for it or not).

Liberty's Edge

#1 of your list isn't valid. Only Sneak Attack and Studied Strike have the concealment prohibition explicit. Studied Combat, the Swashbuckler Precise Strike, and the Precise Strike Feat all lack that language. That's more that don't have it than do.

#2 is clearly intended mainly for sneak attack, which makes all claims of it's general applicability a bit shaky.

#3 is true, but not necessarily relevant, for the reasons I went into in my last post.

Sczarni

Deadmanwalking wrote:

#1 of your list isn't valid. Only Sneak Attack and Studied Strike have the concealment prohibition explicit. Studied Combat, the Swashbuckler Precise Strike, and the Precise Strike Feat all lack that language. That's more that don't have it than do.

#2 is clearly intended mainly for sneak attack, which makes all claims of it's general applicability a bit shaky.

#3 is true, but not necessarily relevant, for the reasons I went into in my last post.

#1 total concealment means you can't threaten ("You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment") the person, ergo you can't deal precision damage or flank the person... So Precise Strike is stopped by total concealment. Language not needed unless they are in partial concealment.

Remember, you only "threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack" - and since total concealment stops this, Flanking is not occurring... thus, neither is Precise Strike damage.

of course you will probably argue that "you can still attack into the square... etc..." but I don't think that is a very good argument given the obvious intent.

Liberty's Edge

maouse wrote:

#1 total concealment means you can't threaten ("You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment") the person, ergo you can't deal precision damage or flank the person... So Precise Strike is stopped by total concealment. Language not needed unless they are in partial concealment.

Remember, you only "threaten all squares into which you can make a melee attack" - and since total concealment stops this, Flanking is not occurring... thus, neither is Precise Strike damage.

of course you will probably argue that "you can still attack into the square... etc..." but I don't think that is a very good argument given the obvious intent.

Uh...I'm not getting into the argument you look to be trying to start here.

You said the majority of the available sources of precision damage had listed specific prohibitions against working on targets with concealment. I provided counterexamples that pretty much prove that to be untrue. That's all I was saying there.

What you're talking about could not conceivably be less relevant to the point I was making, and I'm not sure is even relevant to the thread as a whole, so I'm not arguing it.

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